Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats


ANATOMY   OF   HYE>ROCHO£RUS

(or Carpincho) being the greatest of existing Rodents. The ears are
well developed. The toes are commonly reduced, and the members
of this family possess only a rudimentary tail. The hair though
rough is not spiny. Other characters had best be deferred until
the several genera are treated of. We shall begin with the giant
of the family, the genus Hydrockoerus. This genus contains but
a single species, S. capyba/ra of South America. It reaches a
length of some 4 or 5 feet. The ears are not large; the tail is
completely absent. The fore-feet are four-toed, the hind-feet
three-toed; the digits are webbed, though not to a very great
degree., and the nails have the appearance of hoofs. There are
fourteen dorsal vertebrae; the clavicle is absent. In the skull
the paroccipital processes are of great length. The infra-orbital
foramen is large. The most remarkable fact about the teeth is
the great size of the posterior molar of the upper jaw; it has
fourteen folds of enamel., more than all the anterior teeth possess
collectively. The incisors are white and grooved in front. The
measurements of the alimentary tract as given by Tullberg are: small
intestine, 4350 mm.; caecum, 450 mm.; large intestine, 1500 mm.
The Capybara or Carpincho is largely aquatic in its habits.

FIG. 241,—Patagonian Cavy.    Dolichotis patachonica.     x iV
Tfeeir " favourite locality/* writes Mr. Aplin,1 " is a broad lagnna
1 ** Field Notes on tlie Mammals of Uruguay," Proc. Zool. Soe. 189*  rv  OOT